Thursday, January 15, 2009

the lancet's special report on medical conditions in gaza

One of the world's most respected medical journals, The Lancet, has published an editorial, comment and special report on medical conditions in Gaza. The dossier includes a letter signed by seven students from Harvard, Boston University and Tufts University medical schools, on behalf of 753 of their fellow medical students.

the editorial begins:
During the past 2 weeks, The Lancet has been contacted by many doctors concerned at the desperate events unfolding in the Gaza Strip. All deplore all violence directed at civilians. But, in this politically inflammatory setting, the overwhelming sense we detect among our correspondents—and reflected in Special Reports by Jan McGirk, Mads Gilbert, and Erik Fosse, a Comment by Iain Chalmers, letters from David Worth et al and Rami Adbou et al, and further reports posted on http://www.thelancet.com/ is that the violence launched on Gaza is taking an unjustifiable toll on civilian populations. At least 265 children have been killed so far, social infrastructures (UN buildings, schools, and government facilities) have been badly damaged, and agreed international norms of humanitarian behaviour in situations of conflict have been breached. So far, several mobile clinics and ambulances have been damaged by Israeli attacks...

An article by Iain Chalmers of the James Lind Library in Oxford in the Comment Section, entitled 'Gaza - a symptom of an insufficiently acknowledged cause', starts:
Although Israel has banned foreign journalists from entering Gaza, images of the ongoing carnage there have been widely seen on television, and have provoked outrage. Since the attacks began, I have been in frequent telephone contact with friends—Christian and Muslim—in Gaza Cityand other towns in the Gaza Strip. Their testimonies are heart-rending. On the third day after Israel’s ground invasion of the Strip, one of my friends—a woman in her mid-70s—broke down while talking to me. She had been left uncharacteristically terrified by repeated bombardment of one of Gaza’s government buildings, which is near to her house. This attack had resulted in her home heaving with successive blasts, and most of the remaining window glass being shattered. The latest situation has made her life without electricity and water supplies in winter even more challenging than during the preceding months of Israeliblockade of the Strip, a form of collective punishment on the civilian population which has been endorsed by theUSA and the European Union.
My friend stressed that, so far, she feels she has been fortunate by comparison with many of the other 1·5 million people crammed into the conurbation that has becomea prison for Gazans...

1 comment:

Izzy Bee said...

After today's IDF attack on the UN compound and humanitarian supplies warehouses, it appears that civilians lives are of little consequence to either Hamas or Israel. The long-suffering people of Gaza deserve far better. This military offensive "Cast Lead" truly is offensive...and a disgrace.